Reign of Winter — Game Session — 010

Game summary for December 6, 2016, Reign of Winter campaign, for Phoenix Gaming Club. Session included: Kenwrec Battleglaive (Dwarf Slayer played by Peyton Harmon), Magnus Erlingsson (Human Cleric played by Chris Harmon), and Tiswichtt (Orc Witch played by Casey Scruggs). Game Master for this session was Charles Plemons.

The team looted the bodies of the fallen fey and discovered a lock box in the troll’s cave filled with gold, silver, and jewels!  The team debated what to do next when a black-clad rider emerged from the swirling portal!  His horse disappeared in a swirl of black mist, dumping the man to the ground.  The team could see he had been stabbed by a blue bolt of ice and was nearing death.  He removed his great horned helmet and revealed himself as a frail old man.  He looked up on the slaughtered fey and troll and beckoned the party closer.  He told them he is known as Black Midnight, the infamous Black Rider of Baba Yaga.  The Queen of Witches’ daughter, Queen Elvanna has betrayed Baba Yaga, slain the Red Rider and White Rider, and stolen the Dancing Hut.  The evil queen plans to plunge the entire world of Golarion into a frozen eternal winter!  The Dancing Hut has the ability to locate Baba Yaga by retracing her steps.  She must be found, for only she can undo Queen Elvanna’s magic!  Operating the hut requires the use of keys, but Elvanna’s magic disabled them.  The Rider announced he could recharge them if the party would agree to take up his quest.  The team agreed, and he pulled forth a lock of white hair and a plague doctor mask.  He held them aloft and slashed his own throat with a dagger!  As his lifeblood spilled across the items, they surged with power.  The man crumpled to the ground, dead.

Black faerie magic swirled and rushed into the members of the party.  They realized the Black Rider, Herald of Baba Yaga the Queen of Witches, had passed on his mantle into each of them!  They were all now bound to Baba Yaga and the quest.  They realized they had a deep burning drive to fulfill their mission and suspected they would be unable to resist the urge long even if they wished.  They did not gain the full power of a Black Rider as the power was diluted among them all; however, the energy did bolster them greatly and enhance their natural aptitudes!

The team plunged through the portal and stumbled upon travelers besieged by a giant praying mantis!  The team defeated the mantis and befriended the travelers led by a ranger named Nadya Petska.  She invited them to travel with them to shelter from the approaching storm.  They learned they were now in Irrisen, land of the White Witches.  They also discovered the witches were looking for the Black Rider to finish him off.  In the evening, as the storm approached, an exotic stranger named Mierul Ardelain walked into camp.  The bizarre woman was obviously faerie but seemed something else as well.  She certainly made Nadya very nervous.  Mierul is a well-known bard and agent of the White Witches, and she was subtly asking for information about the Black Rider.  Nadya lied about the party being from a border town instead of being foreigners, and they believe she bought the tale.  After a while, she walked off into the swirling storm unconcerned by the ice and cold.

The next day the team continued toward the small town of Waldsby.  Along the way, a murder of crows swarmed the party!  Nadya and her friends threw tarps over the team to hide them from being spotted by the crows, notorious spies of the witches.  Once in Waldsby, several of the townsfolk figured out they were foreign.  However, the team managed to make a few friends and learn more about the movements of the soldiers of the Pale Tower of a White Witch named Nazhena Vasilliovna.  They had been sent out all over scouring the land for signs of the Black Rider.

Later in Nadya’s cabin, she told them her youngest daughter, a blond seven-year-old named Thora, had been kidnapped by Nazhena after she insulted the witch in the marketplace.  She had hoped to bribe the witch for the return of her daughter with a shipment of food, which the party had helped protect from the mantis, but it had not worked.  Suddenly, Pale Tower guards arrived at the door demanding entry!  Nadya urged the party to hide while she went to talk to them.  They began to arrest her for conspiring with foreigners, and the party emerged to fight the guards.

A terribly brutal fight ensued.  Kenwrec charged in and landed a telling blow as Ten-Penny shot another guard in the throat with a crossbow bolt, killing him instantly.  Kenwrec was suddenly swarmed by guards and quickly cut down, bleeding onto the snow.  Magnus charged in as well, but he just couldn’t land a solid shot with his greatsword.  Tiswichtt cast chill touch and began sapping the strength of one of the guards.  Meanwhile, Nadya broke free and picked up a longsword from a fallen guard.  Magnus fell under a barrage of blows as the ladies moved in to help Tiswichtt.  The three were able to slay the remaining guards and dump a potion of cure light wounds down Magnus’ throat.  The revived cleric then channeled lots of positive energy to heal the party.  With the guards dead, Nadya said she had only two remaining choices:  abandon her home leaving Thora behind or storm the Pale Tower and try to kill Nazhena to rescue her daughter.  The team agreed to help her storm the tower.

She invited them back into her cabin where she revealed a domovoi fey living in her home!  His name is Hatch, and he once worked in the Pale Tower.  He had fled and taken refuge in Nadya’s home.  He knows the layout and was able to give the party information they needed, including the pass phrases to activate the teleportation crystals between several levels since the tower has no stairs.  The team revealed to Nadya they are collectively the Black Rider, and she beamed with encouragement at the thought of going into battle with the enemy of her enemy!  She retrieved her bow, axe, and pick and told the team to rest up, it was going to be a bloody day.